Thursday, January 17, 2013
The push-pull of the on-off
I've been thinking a lot about what it is to live parallel lives.
Specifically, I've been thinking about how having a life online creates a constant push-pull with life offline. This is not ipso facto a negative thing.
Unless the people in your offline life indicate that they feel like the pull of your online life is pushing them out of it.
It has been an interesting week to watch myself try to unravel this knotty issue. I don't think I should understate just how much harder it has been to sort out while I have been feeling unwell. My inner critic usually uses me as a punching back when I am down and out: you would be correct in suggesting that tackling something sensitive might not be a good idea.
So it probably wouldn't surprise you to learn that it ended in tears, with me on the verge of a panic attack, terrified that I was becoming a hermit who is in danger of compromising her most important relationships. (My inner critic is pretty sophisticated, if somewhat imaginative.)
But now that the dust has settled, this is what I am seeing:
I am juggling a number of pressing priorities, the top of which is always my daughter. I don't have a lot of designated writing time, especially during school holidays (i.e. now).
Not everyone in my life shares my passion for the examined life, particularly the life examined online.
I am not the main breadwinner in our home and as my blog does not generate income it is only really a "hobby", a luxury, expendable. (And I see clearly how I help perpetuate this assumption.)
I tend to process my thoughts and feelings about certain experiences by writing about them. I used to do this exclusively in my journal but have grown to love the feedback, support and validation I receive from my blog and twitter community.
And I am also seeing:
A distinct lack of boundaries around time I spend on my computer and iPhone: both in terms of honouring my private creative time and protecting family time.
My compulsion not to "miss anything", especially in terms of twitter conversations, often compulsively stealing time to tool around on my iPhone. As a result, feeling that I am not fully present either online or off it.
A real fear of pushing forward with my blog and taking my online offerings to the next level; uncertainty as to how I'l manage "one more thing" without compromising my availability for my daughter and husband and family and friends.
Processing experiences online becoming a safer and more convenient alternative than in-person conversations, where I'm more likely to get flustered or interrupted or just feel inarticulate and vulnerable.
And all roads seem to lead to:
I do not have enough. I do not do enough. I am not enough.
But then, there's this:
A bold and loving vision emerging for my online offerings that excites and energises me.
And a reminder:
Go where the peace is.
And, in the exhale, pretty obvious and quite simple solutions.